New-gen consoles have been in our homes for a while now, and it’s only been a matter of time before a franchise that’s almost 15 years old now makes its debut on Playstation 4. Ratchet and Clank are finally here and I have to admit, they look better than ever! To be frank, it just wouldn’t do if they looked worse, but never fear – guys and girls from Insomniac Games have worked hard and here we have a true, pure-blooded triple A space adventure!
The game’s release was timed to coincide with the first animated Ratchet and Clank movie’s release in theatres, so the fans will have two things to be joyful about. We still didn’t get a chance to see the movie, but judging by the game, you should definitely put it on your watch list. Even if you’re not familiar with Ratchet and Clank, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know them, because the movie and the game are both done as an origin story. This means we’ll get a chance to see how this likable duo came to be.
That first impression you get once you start the game will definitely be positive, because its audio-visual representation will transport you into one of the most beautiful worlds you’ll ever get to see in video games. The richness of beautiful color combinations, fantastic scenes that give the impression of an animated movie (hint: they are from the movie), combined with voice acting and music accompanying it – everything is pieced together just right and done to the very brink of perfection. There is also humor, but it’s not based on dialogue, but rather in some indeterminately adorable and funny form.
Once you get into the character of Ratchet, a small Lombax (which is some kind of a cross between cat and fox), the game will quickly and easily guide you through the gameplay mechanics. In time Ratchet will unlock some new options, but not as skills, but as additional equipment for himself. The most important part of equipment, the little robot Clank, will join you very quickly and you will soon head out together to save the galaxy.
So, your Lombax will leave his workshop with just a wrench, and by the end he will be equipped with so much stuff that you’ll barely know where to put it all. Gravity boots, jetpack, hoverboard, and much more, and add to all of that a weapons arsenal any FPS hero would be envious of. As for the weapons themselves, their number, design, and originality are top notch. Are you going to stick to the flamethrower or throw disco balls at your enemies to make them dance, after which you turn them into sheep using the sheepinator – it’s totally up to you. You will always have some new way to destroy the hordes of enemies before you.
Speaking of hordes of enemies, let’s clarify that a bit. We literally mean hordes of enemies. That’s not as obvious in early levels, but as you progress through the game, soon you’ll become aware that the enemies are coming in greater in numbers and becoming stronger. This is of course completely all right, because practically every game gets harder as you progress, but this leads us to another matter. The amount of sheer chaos on your screen will be so great, that in some moments you won’t have any idea what’s going on. You will fire, your comrades will fire, the enemies will fire, some of them will charge at you, boxes will explode, falling screws will fly towards you. It will all look like general chaos and mess.
Moreover, the game shouldn’t be taken lightly. One would expect that a primarily children’s game should be a bit more relaxed, but that really isn’t the case here. You’ll have to repeat some segments and boss fights many times until you understand what’s going on and what you need to do. And yes, to prevent him from being an unnoticeable sidekick, levels in which you control Clank will be more logical in nature. These levels can seriously strain your brain cells, and again, especially near the end of the game. Of course there are no unsolvable problems, but for a game whose target audience are mainly children, we think that the parents will have to jump in and help with some puzzles. Unless today’s kids became super smart without us being aware of it.
As you visit different planets, you’ll have the opportunity to see and gather something new on nearly each of them. The planets themselves are visually different from one another, so you’ll travel through a dessert, snow, lava, tropical island, megalopolis, space station…. Maybe this is where we need to mention one complaint about the level architecture. The design is totally alright, but what can be really annoying is that all the planets, aka levels, are linear and there is very little exploration. The path mostly leads in one direction, and once you complete the mission you head right back to the ship. There are exceptions, but a general impression is that it really is a shame that the developers didn’t open up this world a little bit more and gave us more freedom to explore.
During the exploration you’ll collect cards that, once you gather 3 from the same set, provide nice benefits. For example, more screws for weapon upgrades, better drop rate for the cards themselves, etc. The cards are more of an homage to the old games, and you’ll get to see various characters and gadgets from old games depicted on them, and these moments are where the game gets a bit nostalgic.
This whole beautiful, likeable, sometimes linear world has quite enough reasons for us to recommend it to everyone. These are after all Ratchet and Clank and you may have grown up playing their games so they’re definitely worth a shot. And even if you don’t know of these characters, you should definitely give them a chance. We think that they deserved it with this game and will justify your trust in return. The only condition is that you shut yourself away and immerse yourself in a space adventure led by a cute Lombax and his little robot friend.
Author: Vladimir Pantelić